Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially if you are aged 65 or older, or have a long-term health condition. Cold weather can make existing health problems worse and make us more vulnerable to common winter illnesses. Being cold can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Here are some things you can do to stay well this winter.
Make sure you get your flu jab
The flu virus can be far more serious than you think and can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia and can be deadly. The flu season usually starts in December and NHS England are advising people to get protected as soon as possible.
The flu vaccine is free if you are:
Here to help you stay well this winter
Call 111: if you need medical help fast, but it’s not life threatening. An NHS adviser will direct you to the right service in your area. NHS 111 is available free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Ask a pharmacist: they are highly trained healthcare experts.
Visit a walk-in centre: mainly run by nurses who treat minor illnesses and injuries on the spot. You don’t need an appointment and they’re open outside office hours.
Contact your GP: If your GP is unavailable you will be redirected to an out of hours service
A&E departments: for life-threatening emergencies only. If you’re not sure call 111 first.
As well as the flu vaccination, the following can also help you stay well in winter
Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor
For more information and advice visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
To families of all our patients, we wanted to give a reminder that sadly, at both Bedford and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, we are still unable to allow any visitors on site, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are receiving palliative treatment at the end of their lives, on a case-by-case basis.
At Bedford we will call one designated member of family every day between 1.30pm and 4.30pm with a daily phone update. Those who miss a call back during this time and are concerned can contact the helpline on 01234 730500.
For the Luton & Dunstable, we are offering a dedicated Next of Kin helpline for family members who want to check up on their loved ones – please nominate one family member to call 01582 718884 between 8am and 6pm.